From Social Negotiation to Contract: Shifting Strategies of Farm Labor Recruitment in Tanzania under Market Liberalization

Stefano Ponte*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper highlights some of the contradictions and idiosyncrasies of agricultural market liberalization in Africa through the case study of Tanzania. Based on qualitative research and survey data collected in the country in 1995-96, this article suggests that one of the results of economic reforms has been a passage from social negotiation to contractual negotiation as the main vehicle for access to resources. Research findings show that farmers have shifted from recruiting farm labor through social networks to recruiting hired farm labor, and that socioeconomic inequality is increasing. The author concludes that farming households are becoming more vulnerable to natural and economic shocks, and calls for policy solutions to address these problems. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Development
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1017-1030
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Agriculture
  • Market liberalization
  • Farm Labor
  • Social change

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